The Scientific Illiterate

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By CICLAMIO L. BARRETO*

The scientific illiterate is like the political illiterate: people capable of voluntary servitude, of electing representatives who are anti-science, unprepared, subservient to the powerful; people submissive to opportunistic profiteers

The worst illiterate is the scientific illiterate.

He is not interested in scientific information.

Incidentally, he is the type who has probably never admired a starry sky, nor has the slightest idea what an atom or a galaxy is.

He does not conceive the idea that light has a speed, even more so being finite.

The Second Law of Thermodynamics, enunciated in the XNUMXth century and a subject covered in Enem, is not part of his intellect.

He never tries to elaborate an explanation for a scientific fact, even because he doesn't have the slightest condition for it.

At school, he always said that science would be of no use to him in life, thus justifying himself by learning nothing.

It doesn't matter to him that science is the basis of any and all technology and he doesn't even realize this astonishing fact.

Disdains scientific explanations for everyday phenomena.

It ignores that prevention, diagnosis and treatment of diseases require scientific knowledge, being completely irrational against vaccines.

He argues that the earth is flat, that it is no more than 6 years old and that the law of gravity explains nothing.

Perhaps you are the type who is still sure that the Sun is the center of the Universe.

He has an irresistible attraction to a diversity of pseudoscience topics, from astrology to quantum healing.

He declares himself an unrestricted and unconditional fan of alternative medicine and creationism, when not scientific spiritism.

Whenever someone tells him about biological evolution, he replies that it is just a theory, as if he knows what a scientific theory is.

His “biology” leads him to biological racism or biological psychiatry.

His idea about chemistry is that it is an instrument for spreading evil.

The scientific illiterate is so lacking in intelligence that he is proud and sticks out his chest saying that he hates science and despises education.

The imbecile does not know that from his scientific ignorance is born the underdevelopment of the country, the prostitute, the abandoned minor, the abused elderly, the drug addict, the disgrace of the environment, the prejudices of gender, race, social condition, etc., the fake news and the worst of all bandits, who is the swindler, rogue, crook, corrupt politician and lackey of unscrupulous national businessmen and multinational companies, whose activities lead to the depletion of resources, and whose greatest interest is the remittance of profits to the outside.

The scientific illiterate is like the political illiterate: people capable of voluntary servitude, of electing representatives who are anti-science, unprepared, subservient to the powerful; people submissive to opportunistic profiteers and, who knows, also to unpunished criminal veterans, themselves also scientifically illiterate.

*Ciclamio L. Barreto Professor at the Department of Physics at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte.

Text inspired by “The Political Illiterate” by Bertolt Brecht

Originally published in the magazine Physics at School, Vol.17, No.2, 2019 pg. 5.

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